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Death March Escape

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Jack Hersch is the son of a Jewish survivor of Mathausen, David Hersch. 

On June 1944, David , an athletic, handsome , and healthy 160 lb 18 year old, enters KZ Mauthausen for the first time. KZ Mauthausen is one of the harshest, cruelest labor camps in the entire Third Reich. To end up here is more or less a death sentence. Day after day, however, David survives. 

 10 months later, a starving, sick, and deathly weak David, weighing only 80 lbs is forced onto a "Death March" to KZ Gunskirchen, which is 34 miles away. However, David never makes it there.  Once again beating all odds,  David escapes. Not once, but twice. It is truly a miracle. 

Jack grew up listening to his father's stories about his time at Mauthausen and his escape. But it isnt until Jack comes across his fathers photo on the Mathausen  Concentration Camp Memorial website that he realizes how unusual and unique his story truly is.  

Realizing there is a lot more to his fathers story,  Jack embarks on a journey to uncover his fathers past and to, hopefully , find answers to all of his questions. With David no longer alive, it will not be an easy task.  He books a ticket to the place where it all started, Mauthausen. 

Death March Escape is tragically inspiring, reminding us of how much strength a single person can have when faced with the unimaginable, surviving when all odds are stacked against them. This book is also a reminder to be kind, every single. day. To reach out and help those around you when you can.  To not take anything for granted and cherish every moment we have. 

Thank you Netgalley, for giving me a copy.
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The author is the son of a Jew survivor of the concentration camp. The survivor is his father who escaped twice from the Nazis, which is very rare. 

I really enjoyed the book; however, I was seeking for specific details. The author tells the story of father and retraces his father's story to walk where his father walked. Throughout the reading, I can feel how much he honors his father. 

What I got out of the book was how honorable and brave his father was in enduring the suffering that fell upon him.
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I do read mostly fiction, but from time to time I would touch a non fiction story especially from WWII period. This was a good yet bittersweet read. The author portraits the events as they were, and flawlessly. I read this book thinking how brave the characters were, how courageous and smart they had to be to survive in those terrible times when humanity did not matter. 
This book is one of these reads that makes you reflect and think of life after reading it.
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A remarkable story and like so many of this era so sad it happened but we must be vigilant so it doesn't happen again. 

I truly enjoyed this book ~
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A true and incredible story about the struggle to survive during the Holocaust. Amazing how the human mind and body can survive such a journey and tale.
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This was a story of a son following in his father's footsteps. He did his best to follow the same paths his father followed and to visit all the places he hid. 
The father has an amazing story of having escaped two Nazi death marches. At the time of rescue he was 80 pounds and suffering from several terrible ailments. The fact that he lived to tell his son the story is a miracle.
I appreciate the son sharing his story. The story was hard to read as it was broken into sections skipping between father, son, and army movements. I feel the story would have flowed better by seperating it into sections.
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In DEATH MARCH ESCAPE, JACK J HERSCH honours his father by telling the story of his incarceration in Mauthausen and Gusen 1 and 2 concentration camps and his escape from the death march, not once but twice.
His father was a true survivor who had a strong faith in God and a positive outlook on life.
We see how the author tells the stories his father told them each year at the Seder meal, but wishes he had asked more questions and that he had gone with him in 1997 when he visited the camps and the people who hid him in the attic when he escaped from the second death march. 
When the author is told that his father is the only person to have escaped twice from the death march, he goes to Austria to see the places for himself.
It is an emotional and well told story. As the author does his research and remembers what his father told him, it becomes a time of self examination for him, as he thinks of his father's courage and strong will and feels that he could never survive what his father did. It is a heart wrenching story as we hear of the lengths to which the Nazis went to annihilate the Jews (and other groups of people who they saw as inferior).
Throughout the narrative the author tells us about the progress of the Allies during that last year of the Second World War.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Frontline Books. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
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I found this book to be an informative and interesting read. I enjoyed reading the details of this survivor's story and noted it was both well written and edited. The flow and narrative were well thought out and appropriate.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a heart wrenching tale of an eighteen year old Romanian Jewish boy who not only survived the horrors of one of the Third Reich's most horrific concentration camps, but also escaped from the infamous death marches, not just once, but twice ! Remarkably, with death ever-present, he still retained an incredibly upbeat outlook on life and lightened the burden of those around him. In his "American Dream" life after the war, he lovingly passed on his experiences and his outlook on life to his oldest son Jack, who he affectionately referred to as Jeckeleh. The book follows two paths: the father's battle to survive in the camps, and his son Jack's struggle to come to terms with his father's death and the past he thought he understood. As Jack travels through Europe to retrace his father's odyssey, he ponders why he did not ask more questions while his father was still alive and also whether he can ever be "the son that his father deserves". As the book continues, we come to understand both the courage of the father and the growing awareness of the son. In sharing this inspiring legacy with us, Jack has left an enduring memorial of his father's remarkable life and has dramatically demonstrated that he is "the son that his father deserves".
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Riveting story of one man's journey to understand the father who chose to share only the highlights of his escape from the Nazi's during World War II. Initially I thought the author was going to be content to retell his father's story. That would have been interesting enough but later the reader comes to realize that there was so much more to the authors father that he didn't know, that he hadn't asked, that he was afraid that he could never measure up to. Yes, the circumstances were unique. The man made some wise decisions based on what he observed. It wasn't a religious book but it was full of miraculous occurrences.
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“No matter how bad things are, it beats the alternative."

Death March Escape is a truly inspirational tale of Dave Hersch, a gentleman with an incredible "Will" to live.  I found it difficult to put the book down, and I can easily picture this title on a World War II bestseller list.  The author, Jack Hersch, mentions that his father was a natural storyteller; well, Jack is certainly the same, telling this tale in a personal, conversational mode.  Definitely one of the best WWII memoirs that I have read. Enjoying history, I have read a number of books regarding the war, along with hearing many stories from family members who served.   Jack has done an excellent job providing historical context about the war era, while using a dual timeline, in an educational,  powerful, and intense read.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust by Jack J Hersch is a biography of Dave Hersch, the author’s father. This is Mr. Hersch’s first non-fiction book.

After his father passed away, the author realized what many other children of Holocaust survivors found out – they didn’t ask enough questions, or pried for more information. Frankly, it’s not his fault the during the book he kicks himself for it, from personal experience though I found out the Holocaust survivors are not eager to talk about their experiences, and from some reason their children don’t want to know (the grandchildren, however, do).

In Death March Escape: The Remarkable Story of a Man Who Twice Escaped the Nazi Holocaust by Jack J Hersch the author retraces his father’s footsteps in Europe. Dave Hersch is the only person known to have escaped and survived two death marches.

Mr. Hersch’s story is certainly an amazing one, and certainly deserved its own book (as do many other survivors, and I’m sure many who didn’t survive as well).  I fail to comprehend how Dave Hersch survived a year in Mauthausen Concentration Camp, a place which was built specifically as a slave / murder machine.

Dave Hersch told his story of escape to his children every Passover, a holiday celebrating an exodus and survival. As the author found out, his memory sometimes betrayed him and he might have chosen only to tell specific parts – but at least his story was told, passed on to his children and now is here for posterity.

One of the passages that stuck with me was that Dave Hersch told the author that before going to Mauthausen, he was an Auschwitz for 2-3 weeks. When the author investigated further he found that it was actually 2-3 days. How horrible must be a place like that, where every hour seems like a day?

The chapters navigate between telling the experience of Dave Hersch, a short section telling the reader about the war (focusing on Patton’s 3rd Army which liberated Mauthausen), and a chapter of the author’s search, as well as his reflections on what he found out. A remarkable survival story, with a deep, personal narration.
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As Jack fills in the gaps of his fathers story, he starts to understand why his father would always tell him, “You should never know.” He also begins to understand why his father used such phrases as ‘everything is alright’, ‘no big deal’, and ‘not so terrible’.

Jack puts so much emotion in his writing that I can feel his anger, the hurt and shock as he attempts to literally follow his fathers footsteps. I can also follow along with him on his journey on Google maps. This was an experience that was new to me in reading books on the Holocaust.

If you love to read Holocaust books, I would suggest this one. It’s not only about a mans struggle to survive, but it also holds a lot of history in it’s pages.
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I have read a few Holocaust stories, and they are always emotional. This one is not an exception. 

I have heard Mr. Hersch's story before it was heartbreaking then and it is a little more heartbreaking to follow his son as he pieces the whole story together.The way this book is written is beautiful as you go through and follow the story that is David Hersch's life. His most intimate moments, possibly the scariest time of his life. This book is a must read. I would highly suggest it. 

Jack has written a beautiful tribute to his father, what a wonderfully written book. You can tell how much respect he has for his father in reading this. I would highly recommend it. 

Netgalley gave me this book in exhange for my honest review.
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Like so many holocaust stories it's the descendant of these survivors who their stories. This is more of a historical novel of a man who survived against all odds. I prefer a novel where a hero speaks in his own words.
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I have never been able to read a book about Holocaust survivors without getting emotional. As an eighth grade English teacher we have a unit that touches on the Holocaust. When I taught ninth grade English we read Night and other stories about the Holocaust. I have over the years met only one survivor. The only part of her story that stuck with me was the death march she was taken on. To me this is more terrifying than the camps. You may wonder why. In this case the author’s father had the realization that they would soon be freed by the allies. How many of them lost all hope when they were removed from the camp and taken on these long death marches?

The author’s father was like many survivors who talked about their imprisonment, treatment and survival while leaving out so much. I have always wondered why they did this. Were they trying to spare their family the pain that they still felt?

After learning from a relative that a picture of his father at a  death camp was up on a website, Jack sets off on a journey to fill in the blanks of his father’s life.  He eventually walked the same path his father took. He wanted to understand his father’s experiences. It is my opinion that you can walk the path your parent’s took and learn so much more than you  originally knew. I also believe that unless you were actually there that there is no way you can completely understand the horrors.  This is a non-fiction story that I highly recommend. We need more voices to tell these stories as the survivors are all beginning to die off. Who will be left to speak for all those who lost their lives during these horrible year?
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# Death March Escape # Netgalley 
David Hersch was taken from his home in Hungery and placed in one of the worst concentration  camp Mauthausen where they had to go and became part of the mining industry. However he was sent on the death march to another concentration camp 30 miles away, by now weighing approx 80lb when he got there somehow he managed to ecape but was soon recaptured. Avoiding death from the nazies. Later on he was sent on another death march 30 miles away back to Mauthausen.  Yet again he escaped. He told his story many times over the years. Many years after his death. His son jack found a photo on a Paige about Mauthausen of all places. Jack took the photo not really knowing much about his farthest  journey, yet he thought he knew it all. With his dads written notes and photograph. Jack embarks on this journey of his family to try and find out more about his dads survival of the war. I love books like this and hate them at the same time. The emotional rollercoaster of a ride that jack goes on is so emotional you can not help welling tears in your eyes, and the most things I hate about stories like this one is because you know it’s a true story, of death destruction and geniside of Miliions upon millions of people lost their life’s to such cruelty.. It’s so hard to understand how humans beings can treat fellow human beings in such a cruel sadistic way, I am sure as each generation moves on it becomes harder for people my youngest daughter is 25 to accept it’s all true. They are not taught about it in schools anymore. So a lot of people of her age perhaps think it’s just another story. When I sit down and fully explain it’s not a story it’s the truth she still finds it hard to believe, now my father joined up in the secteorld war despite him being exempt because he was a coal miner, no off he went lied about his age and at 15 was a soldier. He went on the be recruited by the para regiment. He never spoke much about the war, yet one time along with other alied troops he was talking about liberating one of the concentration camps. My farther never showed any emotion until that day he told Us about some of the things he saw. Truthfully he didn’t tell us much, as he was talking his eyes started to fill with tears. Suddenly he just stopped. The only thing he said after that was he’s seen things no man should have seen. It must have been a really sad yet emotional journey for jack. At the same time he must also have experienced such amount of pride in his farther escapes. He stated to pride he felt, yet I felt he was holding back at the same time out of respect of all those that died.. it’s a journey of love cruelty, survival and death. It’s a story we all. One that should never ever be forgotten. A 5 star review from me. However whoever reads this, and I am talking about the grandchildren if those that fought and liberated the concentration camps to understand that this is a true story and just because it’s no longer taught in schools.  IT DID HAPPEN
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Thank you Netgalley for the ARC of this book. Jack J. Hersch heard from his cousin one day that his fathers picture was on a memorial website for WW2. Jack had heard his father's story all his life so thought he knew all he needed to know.  His fathers story was so incredible and remarkable, he actually knew very little. This is a beautiful telling of one mans suffering and success through the war. It is also a story of one mans search for his fathers truth, and his own.  Well written and wonderfully accurate. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys non fiction, war books and coming of age stories.
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This book isn't a history but it is more of a tribute to a man who defied the odds, not once, but twice. I thought it was a good book. I wish we were able to get a first hand account of what Mr. Hersch experienced. I think this is a great place to start on learning his incredible feat.

Mr Hersch is the only person known to survive a death march and escape, only to be recaptured, be sent on a second death march and escape again.  This man deserves this respect and admiration.

I will be suggesting this to be sold withing the bookstore I work at. I will happily recommend it.
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Title : Death March Escape

By :  Jack J Hersch

Genre: Nonfiction : 
Biographies & Memoirs ,
Pages: 253

book synopsis :

In June 1944, the Nazis locked eighteen-year-old Dave Hersch into a railroad boxcar and shipped him from his hometown of Dej, Hungary, to Mauthausen Concentration Camp, the harshest, cruellest camp in the Reich. After ten months in the granite mines of Mauthausen's nearby sub-camp, Gusen, he weighed less than 80lbs, nothing but skin and bones.

Somehow surviving the relentless horrors of these two brutal camps, as Allied forces drew near Dave was forced to join a death march to Gunskirchen Concentration Camp, over thirty miles away. Soon after the start of the march, and more dead than alive, Dave summoned a burst of energy he did not know he had and escaped. Quickly recaptured, he managed to avoid being killed by the guards. Put on another death march a few days later, he achieved the impossible: he escaped again.

Dave often told his story of survival and escape, and his son, Jack, thought he knew it well. But years after his father's death, he came across a photograph of his father on, of all places, the Mauthausen Memorial's website. It was an image he had never seen before - and it propelled him on an intensely personal journey of discovery.


My thoughts 


Would I recommend it : yes

This story was an amazing read from start to finish , it was also an emotional read as well but then again when it comes to nonfiction and especially the ones that are about WWI or WW2 then you know your going to feel the emotions, there was times i had to stop read it not because I wasn't enjoying it or liking it but because of how I felt. This book its just a story about a son loving his father and wanting to understand more about him ,but its also part of his history as well as the history of how the Jews was traded, about family that helped one man , even though it was dangerous , and how one man lost most if not all of his family doing this troubled times, how the Germans would pick and choose who would live and who would did , and especially about the death marches ,and how one man man not only escape from it once but 2 times and lived to pass the story on to his son the author. The story is  haunting but its also a story that can not be ignore or forget. And one that needed to be told , With that said I want to thank Netgalley as well as the publishers for letting me read and review it , exchange for my honest opinion.
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